Thursday, 23 December 2010
Maltby St - SE1
Maltby Street in SE1 and the surrounding streets (in particular the wonderfully named Druid Street) is a hidden gem for food and coffee lovers. I tubed it to Bermondsey today for their pre Christmas Thursday opening - but usually it's a Saturday destination. Coming out from the station and walking up Jamaica Road I pondered on the "gentrification" of Bermondsey - the place seems to be one big construction site with new apartment blocks named things like "Bermondsey Spa" and "the jewel of SE1" and other such crap. Overlooking all this are the original estates and old warehouses and as such Bermondsey will always seem slightly grim and urban (and so it should - there is a place for this in a city like London, I hate it when there is a relentless push to make everywhere twee) and as I walked to Maltby Street there was one point where I thought the Krays were going to step out of the shadows and take a pot-shot at me (I really need to stop drinking so much coffee). Anyway back to Maltby Street - the first thing I came to was the Monmouth Coffee HQ (pictured) where I fortified myself with a flat white (top notch as always) and then wandered round to the new St John bakery on Druid Street and bought a custard donut and then wandered further up to the space shared by Kase Swiss (cheese), Topolski (Polish smoked meats) and Jacob's Ladder Farms where I bought some lovely smoked trout with dill. My food shop finished at Neal's Yard with goats cheese, quince paste and blossom honey. If I sound pleased with myself it's because I was and when I wandered down to Borough Market later in the day and found myself in a total scrum I realised why the Maltby St enclave is so special - lots of space, unhurried and no tourists. I love this part of London (even the grim bits) so I will be a regular visitor on Saturdays - check it out, but don't tell too many people!